Although Princeton is already a very walkable area, there are significant sections of the town where there are no sidewalks. For one section of Ewing Street in Princeton North, that is now changing (see photos above and below).
The section of Ewing Street where the sidewalks are being installed lies between Valley Road and the junction of North Harrison Street. This is a significant moment. It isn’t very often that we see new sidewalks being added in a mature neighborhood. What’s more, these particular sidewalks have apparently been anticipated since the 1960s! The most recent impetus for the project appears to be the award of $290,000 of state funds to Princeton, which will also allow for resurfacing of the road and upgrading of sanitary sewers at the same time.
Previous extension of sidewalks along Ewing Street in 2005, from Valley Road south to Guyot Avenue, drew significant criticism from local residents. At that time, several residents complained that sidewalks would “deface” properties and destroy shrubs. The Federal Highway Commission recognizes that community groups occasionally oppose sidewalk installation, but suggests that sidewalks can increase property values by providing a more desirable walkable environment. In this latest construction, it appears that the sidewalk is being constructed from existing roadway, minimizing impacts on residents’ gardens.
For those of us who like to walk around Princeton, new sidewalks are hugely important. By having a joined-up network of sidewalk paths, we make it easier for people to get around on foot, and help reduce dependence on cars. For children and students walking to JW Middle School and Princeton High School, a few blocks to the south, these new sidewalks are sure to increase safety and make walking more fun.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts, especially if you are a Ewing Street Resident with property fronting onto the new sidewalks…please leave a comment below!